Most smokers are well aware of the negative effects smoking can have on lung function. However, many smokers that have sinus infections question if their infection is caused by their smoking. The truth is that smoking can make it easier for someone to get a sinus infection. Below is an overview to help you understand how necessary it is to know how why it is necessary to understand exactly how the sinuses work and how smoking affects them.

Understanding Smoking and the Sinuses

The sinuses. The sinuses are an interconnected system of hollow passages that encompass the areas around the forehead, eyes, and cheeks. The sinuses are very important because they make up the portion of the respiratory tract from the nose to throat. One of the key functions of the sinuses is to produce mucus, a thick substance that protects the respiratory system. Cilia are tiny hair-like structures in the sinuses that prevent bacteria and allergens from entering the respiratory system.

Smoking and the sinuses. Tobacco smoke can damage or kill cilia. This makes it easier for bacteria and allergens to get trapped in the sinuses. Mucus that is rich in bacteria builds up in the sinuses and the chance of developing a sinus infection greatly increases. If patients quit smoking, they will see improvements in this sinus health and their chances of developing a sinus infection will decrease.


Sinus Infections and Smoking

A sinus infection, which is also known as sinusitis, is the inflammation of the sinuses. Smokers are at risk to develop both acute and chronic sinusitis.

  1. Acute sinusitis. Sinusitis that lasts 7-10-days. Symptoms include mucus discharge, difficulty breathing, and facial pain, pressure, and tenderness. Home remedies and over the counter medications may be used to help improve symptoms.
  2. Chronic sinusitis. Smokers that have severely damaged cilia are at risk to develop chronic sinusitis. In order for chronic sinusitis to be diagnosed, a sinus infection needs to be present for at least 3-months.


Chronic sinusitis is a condition that needs to be treated by an ENT specialist. A variety of treatment options can be prescribed to help reduce symptoms and prevent infections. One of the most effective treatment options offered to treat chronic sinusitis is a Minimally Invasive Balloon Sinuplasty. The procedure is extremely popular because it provides patients with immediate symptom relief.


Seeking Treatment for Chronic Sinus Conditions

Smoking can increase your chances of getting a sinus infection and can also put you at risk to develop chronic sinusitis. If you are concerned about their sinus health or are experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection, please contact our offices in Palm Beach and Ocala to make an appointment with Dr. Neil Goldhaber.

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